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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.10D-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Backplate with skirt, for field use. Formed of a main plate, strongly shaped to the shoulder-blades, and a skirt of one lame. The nearly straight neck-opening and the arm-openings of the main plate have file-roped inward turns accompanied by a recessed border. That at the neck descends to a V-shaped projection at its centre. A single incised line, now worn away in its lower half, connects the projections to the centre of the waist. Attached by a modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivet with a square internal washer within the upper end of the border of each arm-opening is a modern buff-leather shoulder-strap. Each rivet occupies a modern hole located just to the outside of the original hole for it which is now plugged by the shank of a rivet. Attached by a modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivet at each side of the waist is a modern buff-leather strap that serves as a waist-belt. The right strap terminates in a double-ended tongued iron buckle decorated with simple filed ornament. Two rivet-holes for the attachment of the waist-belt are pierced at each side of the waist. The left strap is attached at the original rear one, and the right strap is attached at the later front one. An additional rivet-hole has been pierced just above and to the front of the original rivet-hole at the right side. A further hole pierced at the centre of the waist is now plugged with a brass-capped, round-headed rivet. The right side of the main plate has rusted through at two points over the shoulder-blade. The lower and larger of the holes has been repaired with a soldered internal patch. The slightly convex lower edge of the main plate
is flanged outwards to receive the skirt of one lame, which now lacks its left end. The upper edge of the lame is bordered by a single, incised line. Its lower edge descends to an obtuse central point and has a file-roped inward turn accompanied by a recessed border containing six modern brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular internal washers. A seventh rivet and washer has been lost as a result of the left end of the lame breaking away through its hole. The skirt is attached to the flange of the main plate at each side by a single, modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivet with a circular internal washer. The right rivet occupies its original hole. The left rivet occupies a modern hole located a short distance to the rear of the original hole which has broken out in both elements. A modern brass-capped, round-headed rivet with a circular internal washer occupies a hole pierced just above the original hole, on the line of the break of the skirt-lame. Part of the composite half armour HEN.M.10A-G-1933


History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 16.5 cm
Height: 44.5 cm
Weight: 1.76 kg
Width: 33.3 cm

Relative size of this object

33.3 cm44.5 cm16.5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


16th century
Circa 1560 - 1565


North Italian

The backplate and its skirt are bright with a light to medium patination overall. The surface of the metal shows extensive evidence of delamination.

Components of the work

Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Straps composed of leather

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a main plate, strongly shaped to the shoulder-blades, and a skirt of one lame; hammered, shaped, riveted, with incised and file-roped decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.10D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17795
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 8 January 2016 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-05-31 23:01:28

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